Pakistani family in US jailed for forcing daughter-in-law into ‘servitude’ for 12 years
A Virginia family, of Pakistani origin, was sentenced in US federal court earlier this week for conspiracy to compel the forced labor of a female in-law and Pakistan national Maira Butt.
As per the media reports, three defendants, including the woman’s 80-year-old mother-in-law Zahida Aman, two brothers-in-law, 48-year-old Mohammed Rehan Chaudri, and 55-year-old Mohammed Nauman Chaudri, face prison terms of 12, 10, and five years, respectively.
The judge also ordered the culprits to pay the victim $250,000 in restitution for back wages and other losses, according to the US Justice Department.
Butt had married the family’s eldest son, Salman Chaudri, in 2002 after Aman and Butt’s mother arranged the pairing.
Chaudri was not around often in their Midlothian, Virginia house due to his out-of-state medical practice. He would go on to move out completely in 2006, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
From March 2002 to August 2014, Aman and her sons used physical and verbal abuse, the restriction of Butt’s communications with her family in Pakistan, and the confiscation of money, jewelry, and immigration documents to keep her compliant with their orders, prosecutors said.
Daughter-in-law or domestic servant?
The victim was compelled to work as a domestic servant from early in the morning every day, performing a variety of tasks around the Chaudri property.
Butt was denied food, and forbidden to drive or speak to anyone except family members of the defendants.
The defendants also kept the four children, whom she had with Chaudri from 2003 to 2008, away from Butt
Eventually, the three threatened Butt with deportation, which would have fully separated Butt from her children.
Abuse and escape
Over the course of the 12-year ordeal, Ms. Butt lost 60 pounds and clumps of her hair, and tried to kill herself twice, once with rat poison and once with sleeping pills, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In May 2016, Ms. Butt was able to escape the house and report her abuse with the help of one of her brothers, who had come to America from Pakistan. She currently lives in Connecticut with her four children.